Posts Categorized: Recipes

May 2015
Make it yourself!

Here’s how to produce a healthy, electrolyte-rich, invigorating drink free of artificials all in the comfort of your own kitchen in under 5 minutes!


Sports drinks are designed to replenish fluids and energy lost during vigorous exercise, but many commercial products contain artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. And unless you’re working hard and long, you probably don’t need them.


Athletes who work out at a higher intensity for more than 60 minutes and in extreme temperatures (hot or cold) are the most likely to benefit from sports drinks. Those participating in a moderate-intensity exercise program in a climate-controlled environment probably won’t. And, if you’re trying to drop body fat, those extra calories could negate some of your efforts.


Exercise physiologist Mike Nelson, MSME, CSCS, PhD, says an effective sports drink contains water for hydration, carbohydrates for fuel, and electrolytes, particularly sodium and potassium. This combination can help stave off dehydration and overheating while improving performance. Want to make your own? Here’s the recipe:

4 Cups of Water
1 Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
2 Tablespoons of Raw Honey
1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
A Few Drops of ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops (optional)

Mix all ingredients, and store in your refrigerator for up to five days.



April 2015
White or brown?

Are you convinced that brown rice truly is superior to white? Let’s look at the differences.

Brown rice is brown because it’s got the bran on it. White rice is just rice with the bran and germ removed.

The germ is extremely susceptible to rancidity, which is bad because of the very high content of polyunsaturated fat it contains, which is easily oxidized, and leads to all sorts of problematic reactions in the body. Great. Leave it out, then.

The bran is good for pretty much nothing but fiber. But, you know what? (Oh, man — brace yourselves! Major violation of politically-correct nutrition advice, coming your way!)


Many people eat way, way too much fiber, which can lead to serious digestive disorders, and even colon cancer. Read Fiber Menace for more information on that. I’m not saying we should be afraid of it, but if you’re finding the need to intentionally force yourself to eat more of it, like in fibery brown rice, there’s a bigger issue you’re not dealing with.

So, everyone choking down their Fiber-One cereals and psyllium husks really aren’t doing themselves any favors at all. And the only reason they’re constipated is because their metabolism sucks! (Which you can fix!) Healthy people don’t need tons of fiber, and they generally don’t need to go out of their way looking for it.

Fiber. Check. Don’t need it. What else is there?

Oh, alright, fine. There are some nutrients in rice bran. Some B vitamins, some minerals, amino acids, blah, blah — yes, most naturally-occurring foods have nutrients.

And along with those nutrients, quite a lot of anti-nutrients are all up in your brown rice bran, too!

Stop the Hate! Brown Rice Really isn’t All That Great.

Yeah, so, that other thing that the rice bran has to bestow upon our righteously-healthy-whole-grain-eating selves?  

Phytic acid!

Yes. The primary anti-nutrient we traditional foodies work so hard to negate by soaking, sprouting, or fermenting our grains. Rice bran is very high in phytic acid, which binds to minerals in your body and leaches them out of you.

What’s that you say? Just soak the rice, as you would traditionally prepare other whole grains, and the phytic acid will be neutralized?

Not according to one of the biggest phytic acid haters of all time (and one of the most knowledgable experts on the subject), author of Cure Tooth Decay, Ramiel Nagel. He says that soaking brown rice does very little to neutralize it, and that before we had machines to make white rice, traditional people used to pound the rice up with a mortar and pestle and then sift out the bran, making the available minerals more absorbable since the phytic acid in the bran is removed. Smart!

So, let’s recap. The phytic acid in rice lives in the bran. White rice doesn’t have it. The only other thing the bran is good for is fiber, which you really probably don’t need, and can harm you when eaten in excess. And the germ is filled with easily-oxidized PUFA oils. Also not present in white rice.

Starting to see where I’m coming from with my love for this much-maligned “processed” grain?

White Rice Nutrition: Starch is Super

So, what are we left with when we take away the oily, rancid germ and the mineral-depleting phytic acid from our little friend, the grain of rice? The endosperm. Which is essentially pure starch.

Sadly, this has become somewhat of a dirty word in the world of nutrition. People who advocate low-carb and so-called “ancestral” diets often like to say that starch is toxic because it breaks down into glucose, which raises insulin, which can cause problems like insulin resistance.

Here’s the thing, though, about our bodies. We run on glucose. It’s our primary fuel source, and we need it. And glucose from carbohydrates like starch doesn’t actually cause insulin resistance at all.

In fact, it’s a huge part of the diet of many, many healthy traditional cultures.

“There are literally billions of people eating high-starch diets worldwide, and you can find many examples of cultures that consume a large percentage of calories from starch where obesity, metabolic problems and modern, inflammatory disease are rare or nonexistent. These include the Kitava in the Pacific Islands, Tukisenta in the Papa New Guinea Highlands and Okinawans in Japan among others. The Kitavan diet is 69% carb, 21% fat, and 10% protein. The Okinawan diet is even more carb-heavy, at 85% carb, 9% protein and 6% fat. The Tukisenta diet is astonishingly high in carbohydrate: 94.6% according to extensive studies in the 60s and 70s. All of these cultures are fit and lean with low and practically non-existent rates of heart disease and other modern chronic disease.

Chris Kresser, L.Ac;

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not advocating low-fat or 95% carb or anything, here (and neither is Chris). It’s just important that we understand that starch is a nutrient in its own right, eating lots of it can be congruent with health and leanness, and it doesn’t have to be eaten only in “moderation.” White rice is an excellent source of healthful starch and supplies the body with needed glucose.

Oh and also? Getting plenty of glucose flowing into your body is a hugely important part of fixing a slow metabolism. My mother, who’s been using Diet Recovery to raise her body temperatures, heal hypothyroidism, and improve her metabolism, says that nothing gets her temperature rising (literally) quite like white rice. A scoop or two of the stuff and she’s one burnin’ hot mama. I’m not surprised. It’s a great source of quick, easily digestible glucose. White rice to the metabolic rescue!

So Which Rice is Best?

Some types of rice are actually more nutritious than others. In general, it’s better to go with the long-grain varieties of white rice. Long-grain varieties are supposed to be nutritionally superior to plainer, short-grain types of rice.

Really though, the differences probably aren’t huge. It’s all basically the same thing — starch. Long grain basmati and jasmine are the tastiest to me, so that’s what I usually eat, but I’m all for some sticky sweet rice now and again, too.

 Original Article

April 2015
Good eatin'!

Even if you haven’t been indulging in rich, comforting meals all winter, chances are you’ve accumulated more unhealthy foods in your freezer, fridge and cupboard than you realize. To start off the new season on the right foot, a little spring cleaning for your food supply might be in order. We talked with the Nutrition Twins (AKA Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos-Shames) authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure, for their top tips to whip your kitchen into shape.

Declutter Your Freezer

If you throw foods in the freezer and forget about them, it’s time to clear out the old build up. Get rid of all the items with ice crystals forming on the food or the packaging. “Anything with freezer burn will taste worse, but it also often means that the nutrients are lost from foods, especially produce,” says Lakatos.

Keep some uncooked protein, like lean beef and chicken; it’s good for up to nine months once frozen, and can help you skip a midweek trip to the grocery store. Fill the rest of your freezer with bags of frozen berries and peaches (to throw in smoothies, yogurt and hot cereals) and vegetables like peas, spinach and broccoli (to add to soups and increase the nutrition of takeout dishes). Want to keep a few microwavable meals on hand for times you need a quick fix? Look for options with fewer than 400 calories and 400 mg of sodium, suggests Lakatos-Shames.

Lighten Up Your Fridge

Even with tons of frozen fruits and veggies in your freezer, you’ll want some fresh varieties as well. Aim for foods that will keep for several days in the fridge, such as apples, oranges, cauliflower and cabbage. “Don’t cut up anything or wash produce when you bring it home from the store,” says Lakatos-Shames. “You might think you’re saving time, but it will make everything go bad much sooner.” To make these items more convenient for packed lunches or snacks, she suggests prepping them only the night before you’ll be consuming them.

Swap out creamy condiments like salad dressings, mayo and sour cream for mustards, Greek yogurt or olive oil with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. And always have a carton of eggs for quick-cooking protein that goes well with any meal or snack.

Clean Your Cupboard

There’s more to junk food than potato chips. Toss items packed with sugar, sodium and preservatives, such as pretzels and most granola bars and energy bars. “Many of these really aren’t any better for you than a candy bar,” says Lakatos. Instead, reach for options like air-popped popcorn (you can munch on three cups of it for only 100 calories) and pistachios — they’re only about three calories apiece, and shelling them slows down your eating, encouraging you to consume less.

Trade in high-sugar cereals — and keep in mind that even healthy-seeming choices like granola and gluten-free options can fall into this category — for oatmeal flavored with cinnamon and fruit. Load up on whole grains like quinoa, brown rice and wheat pasta; low-sodium beans for a punch of protein and fiber; and cans of fatty fish like tuna, sardines and salmon to get those omega-3s.

Put Everything In Its Place

To ensure your healthy habits stick, it’s important to put some thought into the way you store your foods. “From the pantry to the fridge, place the nutrient-dense items at eye level, front and center, and put any treats in the back,” suggests Lakatos-Shames. “That way, you have to really dig for the less healthy items.” And make sure that everything is in the correct place to stay at its peak freshness. “Most people know that olive oil is packed with powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants,” says Lakatos. “What you might not be aware of is that those antioxidants convert to pro-oxidants when the oil exposed to heat over a prolonged period of time — which means consuming it can actually damage your body.” She suggests refrigerating olive oil as soon as you get home. Same thing goes for anything containing healthy fats, such as nuts, nut butters and fish oil in any form.

Stocking your kitchen with nutritious choices is the first step to healthy eating — and arranging your storage areas in a way that encourages you to reach for them ensures the kickoff to a slim new season.


April 2015

Vegetarians can certainly get enough protein (and muscle!) in their diets, especially with a little planning. Meat-abstainers and carnivores alike can sneak more protein into meals by following these easy six strategies throughout the day.


  • Diversify protein sources. Meat is certainly not the only protein source out there. There’s protein to be found in nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes — and even produce! Legumes (such as peas and lentils) and beans offer a flavorful, inexpensive, and protein-rich alternative to meat. If you eat dairy, there’s a lot of protein in eggs, yogurt, and low-fat milks and cheeses. One of my favorite treats is six ounces of Greek yogurt with two tablespoons raw almonds — for a total of more than 20 grams of protein! Perhaps surprisingly, veggies and fruits can also be a source of protein: For example, one cup of cooked spinach has4.7 grams!
  • Incorporate protein into side dishes. When people think protein, they often think of main dishes such as eggs, meat, or fish. But it’s possible to get a big percentage of your daily protein needs from side dishes by using beans, legumes, and grains (and even greens, as mentioned above!). In my family, we whip up a batch or two of hummus every week and regularly make black bean burgers (check out the recipes below!). Also popular at my house is quinoa, a gluten free grain loaded with fiber and about six grams of protein per serving. Use it to accompany stir fries and add it to salads for an extra dose of protein. With a little planning, it’s easy to incorporate protein into all parts of a meal.
  • Use substitutes in meat-based dishes. In moderation, soy products can serve as healthy alternatives to meat. I recommend that people avoid Genetically Modified varieties (check the labeling to figure out if a product is GMO free), though the verdict is still out on whether they pose a human health risk. Genetically modified soy consumption has been shown to havenegative health effects in animal-based studies, but traditionally fermented soy products like tofu and tempeh are generally considered healthy for humans in reasonable quantities. Two of my favorite options are tempeh and seitan. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and mixed with grains like rice or barley; thanks to the grains, it has a nutty flavor and firm texture. Seitan is made from wheat protein. It’s chewy and dense and often used in dishes as mock meat. Tofu, tempeh, and seitan should all be available at most grocery stores.
  • Make some protein shakes. Shakes are another good protein option, especially post-workout: Studies suggest that eating protein within 30 minutes to two hours after a workout helps repair muscles and even prevent muscle soreness. My personal favorite is whey protein (a dairy product and one of the most common protein powders available), which an effective protein source for muscle recovery. Just add whey protein to anysmoothie recipe and enjoy it as a meal replacement or snack. Don’t eat dairy? No problem. There are many dairy-free protein powders made from hemp, brown rice, and pea protein.
  • Don’t overdo it on the carbs. Too often, when people give up meat they end up eating more carbohydrates and not-so-healthy snacks in order to feel full. But a diet high in simple carbohydrates (such as white bread or pasta) can cause spikes and drops in blood sugar, which leads to hunger and cravings. Don’t rely solely on simple carbs to fill you up. Instead, choose high-fiber carbohydrates (such as whole grains, vegetables, berries, and nuts) and be sure to pair them with at least some protein at each snack or meal.
  • Get sneaky. Look for recipes that can include kidney beans, chickpeas, quinoa, lentils, nuts, and/or low-fat dairy products — either as substitutions or as add-ins, even if they’re not used in the original recipe — and incorporate these ingredients whenever possible. Some other sneaky tips? Snack on foods like trail mix and sunflower seeds. Add nuts and seeds to salads, stir fries, and other dishes. One my favorite tricks is to add protein powder to morning oatmeal.

If you’re thinking about switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet (or you simply want to eat less meat), know that you can do so without needing to worry about whether you’re getting enough protein. With some simple meal planning, it’s easy to get all the protein you need.

Recipe: Hummus

Pair it with chopped veggies for a healthy appetizer or mid-day snack.

What You’ll Need:

1 15oz can Garbanzo beans, drained
½ cup Tahini
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon cumin
2 lemons, juiced
Paprika (for garnish)
Sliced veggies of your choice (peppers, carrots, celery, and cucumber are all great options!)

What To Do:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Feel free to play with the amounts of garlic, salt, and cumin based on your taste buds.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Scoop the mixture into a serving bowl and garnish with a sprinkle of paprika.
  4. Serve with veggies of your choice, and/or whole-wheat pita chips!

Recipe: Meatless Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Looking for a meatless, protein-rich food to add to your repertoire? Try out the recipe for my Spicy Black Bean Burgers! Also try my family’s favorite hummus recipe, below. And feel free to check out my other recipes here.

Serves 4

What You’ll Need:

1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1 large egg white
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup diced red onion
½ cup fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ cup shredded pepper-jack cheese (optional)

For Serving (optional!):
4 whole wheat-buns, toasted
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced

What to Do:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the black beans, breadcrumbs, egg white, garlic, red onion, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pulse until mixture is well combined and beans are finely chopped (but not entirely smooth).
  2. If using, fold the pepper-jack cheese into the blended bean mixture.
  3. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat.
  4. Form the bean and cheese mixture into four equal patties.
  5. Place in the hot pan, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until heated through.
  6. Serve alone, on a bed of lettuce, or on toasted buns and top with sliced avocado and any other veggies or condiments you like!


March 2015
Health food swaps that don't suck!

Love to eat? That’s not a bad thing – until you’re eating 5,000 calories a day. In order to enjoy all the delicious goodness food has to offer (without becoming morbidly obese), try making some of these food swaps (they don’t suck, I promise):

1. Almond Milk for Cow’s Milk

Definitely stay away from whole milk, as it’s loaded with fat and calories. Even if you’re into skim milk, however, there is a healthier alternative: almond milk. Not only is it free of growth hormones, but a serving of unsweetened almond milk also has only 30 calories (skim has 90).

2. Mashed Cauliflower for Mashed Potatoes

Cook cauliflower until super soft and mash. Dress it up with seasonings and there you have it – a healthier, just-as-delicious version of mashed potatoes. No longer will you have a starchy load of carbs, but rather a mashed load of vitamins. You’ll be consuming fewer calories, too.

3. Cinnamon-Sugar Apples for Granola Bars

Slice up an apple and dress with some cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice. Munch on these when you’re craving something crunchy, and bid your sugary, high-in-calories granola bars goodbye.

4. Heart-Healthy Soups for Traditional Recipes

Campbell’s line of Healthy Request heart healthy soups cut back on calories, sodium and fat without sacrificing flavor. Look for the green label and enjoy flavors like New England Clam Chowder, Roasted Chicken with Country Vegetables and more.

5. Egg Whites for Egg

Trade your single egg for two egg whites to cut back on calories and cholesterol. A single egg white has only 17 calories and 0mg cholesterol. A single egg, on the contrary, has 78 calories and 187mg cholesterol. You won’t sacrifice flavor, and egg whites have all the binding capabilities of whole eggs.

6. Frozen Yogurt for Ice Cream

Different flavors have different nutritional information, but ice cream generally has more calories than frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt also has less fat, saturated in particular. Top your bowl with fruits instead of chocolates or candies to further improve the health rating of your dessert.

7. Salad for Sandwich

Instead of shoving carb-heavy bread into your system, put your sandwich’s contents in a bowl. Think of a bowl vs. a burrito at Chipotle. The bowl is much healthier yet just as delicious.

8. Eggplant for Lasagna Noodles

Lasagna noodles are filled with fat, calories and carbohydrates. Use eggplant instead. Eggplant lasagna will cut back on all of the above; a cup of eggplant has only 20 calories and almost no fat. With all the sauce, cheese and other vegetables, you won’t even taste a difference.

9. Spaghetti Squash for Pasta

Again, noodles aren’t awesome for your body. They don’t offer vitamins, minerals or fiber. They do offer tons of calories (221 in each cup of spaghetti). Spaghetti squash, on the other hand, has only 31 calories per cup. Dress your squash with sauce and cheese as you would with normal noodles, and enjoy.

10. Angel Food Cake for Other Cakes

Most cakes are loaded with fat, calories and sugar. A slice of ice cream cake, for example, has about 250 calories. Angel food cake has only 72. Top with strawberries and whipped cream instead of icing to further assist your waistline.

See? Healthy swaps don’t have to be horrible.


March 2015

Green smoothies can be a fantastic way to boost our health by incorporating a rich variety of wholesome nutrients. They are one of the quickest, easiest, and healthiest meals we can make and incorporate into our diets. Their versatility makes them hard to beat as they can take the place of a whole meal or quick snack, be used for healing or prevention, for weight-loss or muscle-building, and be suitable for children, seniors, and everyone in between. However, just as with any good thing, there are ways we can ruin and take away from their optimal nature. In this article I will share with you 7 things you shouldn’t add to your green smoothie.

Green Smoothie!Introduction

My personal journey with green smoothies started back in 2008. At that time I was awakening to my love affair with greens, but found it challenging to know how to incorporate some of them in practical and delicious ways. We definitely didn’t have the abundance of resources that we do today and array of amazing recipes. That was until one spring day in 2008. I can vividly recall to this day going through the check-out line at a local natural health food store when the cashier noticed I was buying kale and asked me what I was going to do with it. I shared that I was just going to steam it, and she asked me if I ever made green smoothies with it, to which I replied, no. At that point, I had never heard of green smoothies. With an excited smile, she handed me a printed recipe card that featured a simple green smoothie recipe. I was both fascinated and a little repelled by the idea of leafy greens in a smoothie but decided to give it a try. That was the day I got hooked onto green smoothies and to this day they are one of my most favorite ways to incorporate greens into my diet.

However, as my personal and professional research into the fields of health and nutrition amplified, I realized that there are many ways to make a green smoothie. Some ingredient and combination choices are much healthier and optimal than others. And while it is always valuable to consume leafy greens, the presence of some ingredients can make a green smoothie downright unhealthy. So if we are going to rely on green smoothies, we cannot do it haphazardly, we need to get it right. Green smoothies, as almost with anything else, can work for or against us. This is why today, after over 7 years of being an avid green smoothie drinker and proponent, I am very passionate about helping people properly understand green smoothies.

Green Smoothie Basics

For most of these past 7 years, green smoothies have been the way I start my day. I have about 14 to 16 ounces or 2 cups of a whole-meal green smoothie, at least 5 out of the 7 days, if not every day, as my breakfast. This is what makes my body, energy, weight, vitality, and health thrive.

The general health benefits of green smoothies include:

  • They provide an opportunity to get some vital, nutrient-dense greens into another meal of our the day (besides obvious choices like salads, steamed, sautéed, or stir-fried greens), and reap the rewards of more servings of the most powerful foods each day.
  • They provide a richly alkalizing, not acidifying, meal. (Optimal health requires a roughly, one-quarter acidifying to three-quarters alkalizing food breakdown.)
  • They provide an excellent opportunity to get more fruit servings per day.
  • They provide an excellent opportunity to consume a fully raw meal.
  • They provide an excellent opportunity to consume more fresh produce per day.
  • They are a rich source of all the right nutrients, including healthy carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber.
  • They provide maximum surface area for quick, easy, and efficient nutrient absorption.
  • They benefit all areas of our health, healing, and prevention, both acute and chronic conditions.
  • They benefit our energy levels, weight loss and weight maintenance, as well as our mental and emotional health.

Green smoothies can be as simple or complex as we may prefer them. We can create many combinations based on leafy greens and additions like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, and numerous beneficial superfoods. I personally like to keep my green smoothies quite simple, as there is a lot of health benefit in focused simplicity. My basic formula includes: lots of leafy greens, 1 to 2 fruits, some omega-3-rich seeds, and water. Based on this simple formula, green smoothies can be adapted to meet everyone’s needs, such as being higher or lower in calories, fat, protein, fiber, etc. The key is to make sure that we do not add ingredients that will lead to various imbalances or harm within our body.

Green Smoothie Problems

To help you make and get the most out of your green smoothies, here is a list of things that we should not do if we want to enjoy the best health and weight benefits.

1. Adding Juice to Green Smoothies

There is definitely a time and place for fresh, homemade vegetable and/or fruit juices. However, conventional, pasteurized juices are not any kind of health food and cannot be considered healthy choices. Besides being a source of calories and sugars, they do not offer our body any benefits. The original, wholesome fruit has been stripped away of most of its vital benefits, including fiber, and any remaining vitamins or phytonutrients are typically destroyed by the processing and pasteurization process. This is why many juices are enriched with synthetic vitamins.

So while juices will make your smoothie sweeter, this should not be needed if you are using whole fruit (fresh or frozen). Whole fruit will make the green smoothie delicious and actually more palatable, once your tastebuds detox from being attuned to the hyper sweetness that is common within the Standard American Diet. What the presence of juice will do on a negative note, is add unnecessary, empty calories to your green smoothie and have spiking effects on your blood sugar. Both of these concerns will work against your weight and blood-glucose regulation, and can lead to more serious problems down the road, including type 2 diabetes.

2. Adding Dairy to Green Smoothies

Dairy is not a health food on its own, and definitely does not help any meal that it is added to. Although more and more people are coming to the urgent realization that dairy should be avoided altogether, some people still consider dairy or some types of it a healthy option. So whether it is cow’s milk or goat’s milk, regular yogurt or Greek yogurt, do not ruin your green smoothie by adding dairy to it.

Modern, processed dairy has many problems associated with it; it is acid-forming, mucus-forming, inflammatory, and allergenic. If not organic, dairy will be prone to containing various drugs, hormones, pesticides, and GMOs. Whether organic or not, the pasteurization process alone renders many nutrients in dairy denatured or unusable. Nutritionally, dairy, especially when not chemically defatted, contains a very high amount of fat of various unhealthy fatty acids. It is also high in unhealthy proteins. One example is a protein called casein, which has been linked to being allergenicand cancer promoting. Dairy is also completely devoid of fiber, and a source of unhealthy cholesterol. Ultimately, cow’s milk was created for baby cows, and the sooner we get off of it, the better for our health and weight. So don’t allow yourself to be seduced by misleading marketing related to products like Greek yogurt or any other dairy product. If you want more protein or creaminess in your green smoothie, there are healthy ways of getting it, like adding raw almonds, without relying on dairy and its slew of problems.

To top it off, fruit and dairy make for some of the worst food combining, and can result in various digestive disturbances, including bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Depending on the health of your digestive system, it is generally speaking best to consume fruit on its own or with water-rich veggies, like leafy greens.

3. Adding Sugar or Sweeteners to Green Smoothies

Although this point may seem obvious, with the rise and popularity of many natural sweeteners, some green smoothie recipes call for the inclusion of isolated sugar sources like agave nectar or honey. Aside from the fact that isolated sweeteners, no matter how healthy sounding, should be kept to an absolute minimum in our diets for optimal weight and health, there is no need to sweeten our smoothies. The whole fruit used will beautifully and naturally bring out pleasant sweet tones and make our smoothies delicious. Whole fruit comes with all of its fiber and nutrients intact, which complements healthy digestion and utilization. Isolated sugars, however, can unnaturally spike our blood-glucose levels, work against our weight, be inflammatory, and typically have little or no nutritional value.

4. Adding Too Many Calories

As mentioned, green smoothies can be very versatile to suit all people’s needs. Whether you are an active athlete or wish to lose weight, you can customize green smoothies to best suit your needs. And while it is great to include various whole, natural foods into your green smoothie, if we are trying to maintain an optimal weight or lose weight, we must be mindful of what we are adding to our smoothies and how much of it. High calorie items like nuts or nut butters, seeds or seed butters, dairy, avocados, and oils will all be a source of significant calories. For example, if you add an oil to your smoothies, each tablespoon will yield about 120 extra calories. If you add an avocado, it will add about 200 to 300 calories to your smoothie. If you add 1 oz or about a ¼ cup of almonds to your smoothie, it will add about 160 to 200 calories to your smoothie.

Again, please keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with adding some of these items, as they will typically be a welcome source of calories and nutrients, especially if we want to make a whole-meal green smoothie or for active people or those eating a whole-food, plant-based diet that is naturally low in calories. It can become a problem though, if we start adding too much of any of these, or adding several high-calorie ingredients, especially if we are trying to lose weight. Simply be mindful of what your needs are and create your optimal green smoothie accordingly.

5. Adding Protein Powders

Perhaps one of the most common ingredients added to smoothies, including green smoothies, are protein powders. No surprise there perhaps, as in our world today there is no shortage of protein powders of every type, flavor, and color. My first question to people who engage in this is always: why? Why do you feel or think you need a protein powder? We have to recognize that we live in a protein-obsessed society. We also have very faulty views and understandings of protein. Most people have no need and no good reason to be adding protein powder to their smoothie. Just like with carbohydrates and fats, more protein is not better. We do not realize that optimal health is not created via high-protein meals or diets. Additionally, most protein powders on the market today are nutritionally atrocious, full of various sweeteners, GMOs, synthetic, modified, processed, or isolated ingredients, preservatives, colors, and flavors. This is not what creates good health, never mind optimal health, and is frankly a huge waste of our money.

Granted there are higher quality protein powders that focus on having characteristics like being 100% plant-based, organic, natural, etc. However, even the best of these is still a form of processed food; we cannot forget that. Protein powders do not grow on trees, they are made in factories. So while they can play a valuable role if we are traveling or need a convenient nutritional boost when on the go, for daily, home use they are hard to justify. If we are consuming proper green smoothies, the greens alone are loaded with nearly every single vitamin and mineral that we need, including high protein amounts. Let’s then use real, whole foods like fruits, nuts or seeds, or even various superfoods as per our specific needs, to pump up the nutritional density naturally. Hemp seeds alone are nutritional and protein powerhouses!

Ultimately, this does not solve our preoccupation with protein. If we are going to make wise choices about nutrition, protein included, whether we are dealing with green smoothies or any other meal choice, we need to learn the truth about protein and not be blinded by collusion from both the animal food and protein supplement industries. Empower yourself and benefit your health by learning about the 8 myths of plant and animal protein sources, as well as theabundance of protein in plant foods, or take a comprehensive class about protein.

6. Adding Roasted Nuts or Seeds

While raw nuts or seeds are a wonderful addition to our diets, and thus green smoothies, roasted nuts or seeds are not. Even though our society still predominantly focuses on selling roasted versions of these foods, this is in no way ideal for our health. We have to realize that fats, especially unsaturated fatty acids, which nuts and seeds are rich in, are sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen. If these fats become rancid or denatured, we not only lose beneficial health properties, but also gain unfavorable consequences. Processed unsaturated fats, like refined oils or roasted nuts and seeds are inflammatory in nature.

So by all means enjoy adding some nuts or seeds to your green smoothie, which will easily turn it into a whole-meal green smoothie, but be sure to only use raw nuts or seeds, and preferably organic ones as well. Equally so, we can rely on pure, raw nut or seed butters, especially if your blender isn’t powerful enough to pulverize whole nuts or seeds. These options can add valuable calories to your green smoothie, increase the healthy fat and healthy protein compositions, as well as increase the vitamin and mineral compositions further, and add density and creaminess to your green smoothie.

7. Adding Processed, Synthetic, or Artificial Ingredients

Aside from what I talked about above, there are many other processed, synthetic, and artificial ingredients that can end up in our smoothies if we are not mindful of our choices. We have to remember the whole point of why we are drinking green smoothies: to optimize our health and weight, healing, and prevention. Therefore, it makes no sense to be adding any ingredients that compromise these goals in any way.

Although it is not the worst example of processed food, non-dairy milks are one of the most common additions to green smoothies. It is one thing if we are making our own nut milk at home, but quite another if we are buying conventional, processed nut milk. Many people habitually add a non-dairy milk to their green smoothies without considering consciously why they are doing so. It is neither a significant source of calories or nutrients. Water is the only and ideal liquid we need for green smoothies. If we want increased nutrient-density (whether fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals) or increased creaminess, then as mentioned above in number 6, nuts and seeds ideally fulfill this role in the most wholesome of ways. Conventional non-dairy milks are, first and foremost, extremely watered-down versions of the real thing and thus offer very little nutritional value from a wholesomeness perspective. Granted they are fortified with some nutrients, but these are synthetic and in no way equivalent to those found in whole foods. They most commonly contain a sweetener, added flavors, as well as various questionable ingredients. It is a much better investment of our money, and for our health, to go for real nuts or seeds, or their wholesome, pure butter counterparts.

The same needs to be kept in mind about oils, which are processed and extracted parts of the original whole food. While coconut, flax, or hemp oils are generally speaking considered healthy and common green smoothie additions, it is much more valuable to go with their whole food counterparts. Add in flax seeds or hemp seeds instead of their oils. With coconut, even adding in coconut butter provides us with a more wholesome version of the original food and it won’t make your green smoothie oily.

Green Smoothies for Your Health

As mentioned in the introduction, green smoothies can be one of the most amazing ways we can boost the nutrient density of our diet and benefit our health, but they can also work against us if we are not mindful about what we put into them. Be sure to always focus on real, fresh, wholesome, natural plant foods and of course have the leafy greens play the starring role.

To learn more about green smoothies and how to make optimally healthy ones, including recipes, nutritional information, and more, I invite you to explore my interactive green smoothie essentials online course.

Nourish your body with optimal foods and enjoy the benefits of optimal health!


February 2015

As a sports nutritionist, I consult for pro teams and privately counsel professional and competitive athletes in numerous sports, as well as fitness enthusiasts. Pros and weekend warriors definitely have different nutrition needs, but they do have one thing in common: In order to get the most out of being active, everyone needs to eat properly to help their bodies recover from the wear and tear of exercise.

Here are six rules to follow, and how to prevent overdoing it, which can cancel out the weight-loss benefits of breaking a sweat.

What To Eat After You WorkoutEat within 30 to 60 minutes after exercise.
If you’ve had a particularly tough workout, try to eat a “recovery” meal as soon as possible. Exercise puts stress on your muscles, joints, and bones, and your body “uses up” nutrients during workouts; so post-exercise foods are all about putting back what you’ve lost, and providing the raw materials needed for repair and healing. In fact, it’s the recovery from exercise that really allows you to see results in terms of building strength, endurance, and lean muscle tissue. Not recovering properly can leave you weaker as you go into your next workout, and up your injury risk.

Think beyond protein.
Protein is a building block of muscle, so it is important post exercise, but an ideal recovery meal should also include good fat (also needed for healing muscles and joints), as well as plenty of nutrient-rich produce, and a healthy source of starch such as quinoa, sweet potato, or beans. These foods replenish nutrients that have been depleted, and provide energy to fuel your post-exercise metabolism. A great post-workout meal might be something like a smoothie made with either pea protein powder or grass-fed organic whey protein, whipped with fruit, leafy greens, almond butter or coconut oil, and oats or quinoa, or an omelet made with one whole organic egg and three whites, paired with veggies, avocado and black beans.

Keep it real.
The phrase “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more true. Nutrients from the foods you eat food are the foundation of the structure, function, and integrity of every one of your cells. Your body is continuously repairing, healing, and rebuilding itself, and how healthy your new cells are is directly determined by how well you’ve been eating. In short, your body is essentially one big miraculous construction site that’s open 24/7. So even if you’re lean and you burn a lot of calories, avoiding highly processed food and eating a clean, nutrient rich, whole foods diet can help you get the most out of all of your hard work, including cells that function better, and are less susceptible to premature aging, injury and disease.

Don’t overcompensate.
If weight loss is one of your goals, it’s important to not overestimate how much extra food you “earned” working out. In fact, it’s incredibly easy to “eat back” all of what you’ve burned. For example, in a one-hour elliptical session, an average woman burns about 490 calories. A large salted caramel Pinkberry contains 444 calories, and a 32 ounce high-protein pineapple smoothie from Smoothie King clocks in at 500 calories. Even if you don’t splurge on treats like these, you may be tempted to sneak a little extra almond butter, or be less mindful of your oatmeal or fruit portions, and those extras can add up. And if you’re going to be eating a meal within an hour of finishing up a workout, you don’t also need a post-exercise bar or snack.

If you sweat heavily, exercise in high humidity (which prevents cooling of the body) or your workouts last longer than 60 minutes, you might need a sports drink rather than plain water during exercise. These beverages are designed to keep you well hydrated, but they also provide electrolytes to replace those lost in your sweat (like sodium, which makes sweat salty; and potassium, which helps regulate heart rhythm), as well as fuel to keep you going. If your workouts are less strenuous, shorter, climate controlled, or not so sweaty, plain H2O is probably fine. The general rule of thumb is to drink at least two cups of fluid two hours before exercise, another two cups 15 minutes prior, and a half-cup every 15 minutes during. Post exercise, aim for two cups of water (16 ounces) for every pound of body weight lost, and monitor the color of your urine — if you’re well hydrated it should be pale.

Watch your alcohol intake.
Many athletes and active people I work with enjoy imbibing a bit after working out. Alcohol in moderation is fine, but be sure to eat first to start the recovery process. Also, it’s important to know that alcohol has been shown to accelerate post-exercise muscle loss and the loss of muscle strength by as much as 40%. It can also interfere with replenishing glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrates you stock away in your muscles to serve as energy “piggy banks.” Less glycogen can translate into a lack of power or endurance during your next workout, so aim for moderation.


February 2015
Quest Protein Chips!


Chips have always been delicious. No argument there. But the carb-loaded snacks have always been reserved for cheat days or impulsive munching… until now.

With 21 grams of high-quality protein per bag, Quest Protein Chips are the ONLY chips you can enjoy at the gym, on-the-go, or as an anytime snack completely guilt-free.

In fact, guilt has nothing to do with it. Every bold, mouthwatering flavor has only 5g total carbs and zero junk ingredients, so eat the whole bag!

Ingredients:Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate), Dried Potatoes, Corn Starch, High Oleic Sunflower Oil. Contains less than 2% of the following: Sea Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavors.

February 2015

Smoothies are like the little black dress of food. There’s one for every occasion, every attitude, and every diet restriction. They’re also quick, easy, and can be made ahead of time for a grab and go kind of morning.

Healthy Smoothie RecipesTo get the most flavor and nutrients into your smoothies, don’t take up space with ice. Instead, use frozen fruit or portion out your own fruit (berries or bananas are good choices) and keep them sliced in the freezer for instant access. You can also add an extra kick with powder proteins and vitamin mixes.

Below, we found 16 delicious breakfast smoothie recipes that will fill you up and keep you energized all morning long.

1. Mango White Bean Smoothie
via Some the Wiser

Beans in a smoothie? You bet. This is a hearty smoothie, which makes it ideal for breakfast. The white beans make it extra creamy, and the mango, fresh mint, and unsweetened coconut balance the flavor.

2. Probiotic Kefir Smoothie
via Hello Natural

This smoothie is a two-for-one. Kefir is loaded with calcium and protein, and the cucumber and lemon juice have natural detoxifying benefits.

3. Glowing Skin Smoothie
via Simple Vegan Blog

The flax seeds and raspberries in this bright, berry-hued drink help minimize irritation and redness in the skin. If you don’t mind messing with the color, feel free to add any leafy green you prefer.

4. Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie
via Desserts with Benefits

This creamy smoothie is made with Greek yogurt and organic grapes, and while it may taste indulgent, it’s free of refined sugar and high in fiber and protein.

5. Kiwi Smoothie
via Taste of Home

If you’re interested in keeping the almond flavor, but don’t want to use extract, add a small spoonful of almond butter or a splash of almond milk. Between frozen fruit and yogurt, this smoothie will be thick and delicious without the ice.

6. Pineapple Coconut Smoothie
via PBS

You’ll have visions of a Caribbean vacation with this virgin pina colada smoothie. Use light coconut milk and try toasting some flaked coconut and sprinkling on top.

7. Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

Chocolate for breakfast? Yes, please. Keep the cherries mostly frozen for a thicker drink.

8. Green Tea Smoothie
via Eat, Live, Run

This frothy smoothie uses a strong-brewed green tea and almond milk. To make it thicker, either freeze the melon or add a handful of ice.

9. Banana-Oat Smoothie
via Martha Stewart

If you’re looking for a filling boost of protein then this is the breakfast smoothie for you. Top with walnuts or swap the honey for maple syrup for delicious variation.

10. Coffee and Banana Smoothie
via Health

This smoothie is great for those mornings when your brain is still thinking about bed, but your body is headed to work. With a filling banana and a hit of caffeine, you’ll be set to take on the day. Adding a dash of cocoa powder will make this smoothie extra special.

11. Creamsicle Breakfast Smoothie 
via Eating Well

This recipe starts with coconut water which is an excellent source of electrolytes and potassium. Basically, this is a decadent kick of energy to kick start your morning.

12. Tofu Fruit Smoothies
via Cooking Light

This is a great dairy-free option. The tofu will create a silky, filling drink with lots of protein. If you aren’t a fan of white grape juice, try using pomegranate juice instead.

13. Gingery Berry and Oat Smoothie
via Real Simple

Do your immune system some good with a shot of antioxidants from blueberries and ginger. This recipe would be great with frozen peaches, too. Feel free to swap the brown sugar for honey or agave syrup.

14. Green Goddess Smoothie
via Women’s Health

This is your low calorie (less than 200 calories per serving), nutrient-packed, take-on-the-day energy smoothie. The recipe calls for low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt, but for breakfast you might want to use nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt instead.

15. Raspberry Blackberry Smoothie

Tart berries like raspberries and blackberries will jump start your morning. Because of the seeds, you should allow the smoothie to blend longer than usual, or you can strain it. Topping this smoothie with a little granola will make for a lovely weekend brunch appetizer.

16. POM Breakfast Smoothie Recipe
via Smoothieweb

This is an ultimate healthy smoothie. Pomegranate juice, almonds, protein powder, and banana all mixed together in one tasty treat. If you prefer almond butter, you could use a tablespoon of that instead of the raw almonds.


February 2015

Looking for a great power salad that will fill you up and energize you all day? Try out this protein rich recipe hand-selected by FIX staff.

Chicken & White Bean Power Salad

Serves: 4
Yields: 4 Servings, about 2 cups each
Time: 25 min


  • 1 clove(s) (medium) garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 5 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoon(s) fresh orange juice, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup(s) white-wine vinegar or red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
  • 1 can(s) (15-ounce) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cup(s) diced cooked chicken breast (see Tip)
  • 2 cup(s) (about 2 small) diced zucchini and/or summer squash
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) diced celery
  • 1/4 cup(s) finely diced ricotta salata, halloumi (see Shopping Tip) or feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup(s) chopped, well-drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 cup(s) coarsely chopped fresh basil, plus whole basil leaves for garnish
  • Salt, to taste, optional
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste, optional
  • 2 cup(s) torn escarole or romaine lettuce
  • 2 cup(s) torn radicchio leaves


  1. To prepare vinaigrette: Peel the garlic and smash with the side of a chef’s knife. Using a fork, mash the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl to form a coarse paste. Whisk in 5 tablespoons oil. Add 6 tablespoons orange juice, vinegar, and mustard; whisk until well blended. Taste and whisk in up to 4 tablespoons more juice to mellow the flavor; season with more salt, if desired. Set aside at room temperature.
  2. To prepare salad: Combine beans, chicken, zucchini (and/or summer squash), celery, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes (if using) in a large bowl until well blended. Add chopped basil and 3/4 cup vinaigrette; toss until combined. Taste and season with salt and/or pepper, if desired.
  3. Toss the remaining vinaigrette with escarole (or romaine) and radicchio in a medium bowl. Serve the salad on the greens, garnished with fresh basil leaves.
    Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 vegetable, 4 lean meat, 3 fat. Carbohydrate Servings: 1. Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (47% daily value), Vitamin A (30% dv), Folate (21% dv), Potassium (18% dv).

Tips & Techniques

Tip: To poach chicken breasts, place about 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 15 minutes.

Shopping tip: Ricotta salata and halloumi are both firm, salted cheeses that can be found at large supermarkets and cheese shops.

Nutritional Information
(per serving)

Calories 428
Total Fat 23g
Saturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 79mg
Sodium 667mg
Total Carbohydrate 24g
Dietary Fiber 8g
Protein 34g